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Landslides

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Giant ancient landslide in the Alma water gap (Crimean Mountains, Ukraine): notes to the predisposition, structure, and chronology

  • Tomáš PánekEmail author
  • Jan Hradecký
  • Veronika Smolková
  • Karel Šilhán
Original Article

Abstract

Large-scale ancient landslides of the area of more than 5 km2 and volume exceeding 200 × 106 m3 are characteristic features of the valleys incised in the northern periphery of the Crimean Mountains (Ukraine). The largely affected area is located in the outermost cuesta range of the Crimean Mountains which consists of rigid Sarmatian limestones overlying weak Middle Miocene and Upper Palaeogene deposits. A giant landslide arose in the Alma water gap as a reflection of several coincident preparatory factors such as suitable bedrock stratification, smectite-rich bedrock exposed to swelling activity, presence of faults parallel to the valley trend, and river capture event which preceded the landslide event. The occurrence of such ancient megaslides is particularly interesting in the area which is characterized by low precipitation (<500 mm/year) and weak contemporary seismicity. It probably reflects a more dynamic environment in humid phases of the Holocene; however, seismic triggering along the Mesozoic suture zone cannot be rejected. Compressional features such as gravitational folds in the central and distal parts of the landslide, which probably correlate with the whole landslide genesis or its significant reactivation, arose, according to the radiocarbon dating, during the Holocene climatic optimum in the Atlantic period. The slope deformation has been relatively quiescent since that time, except minor historic reactivization which took place in the frontal part of the landslide. We suppose that the studied landslide could be classified as a transitional type of slope deformation with some signs of spreading and translational block slides.

Keywords

Low-gradient landslides Lateral spreading Gravitational folding Radiocarbon dating Crimean Mountains Alma River 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research was supported by a grant project of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, no. 205/06/P185: “Comparison of morphotectonics and geomorphic effect of surface uplift in the highest part of flysch Western Carpathians and Crimean Mountains” funded by Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. We thank to Dr. Gonghui Wang and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Václav Šťastný for the completion of mineralogical analyses and Monika Hradecká for revising the English text.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Pánek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Hradecký
    • 1
  • Veronika Smolková
    • 1
  • Karel Šilhán
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic

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